Barking dogs, beer and porch songs

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Bulldog singer-songwriter Kenny Tudrick has seen some hard road, and has done many things in rock ’n’ roll (some hit, some missed) — enough that when he writes about his life you believe him. From the singer’s thin hips and Gram Parsons bangs-in-eyes shag to his sideways swinging Tele and lyrical tender mercies comes the sound of struggle, release, self-pity, anger and loss. Sound affected? Hardly. Tudrick is working the terrain of songwriters, and the only way he can articulate what’s loitering in his head is through the music. He’s found his voice.

Then there’s the band; an ad hoc chemistry that colors the 11 songs with sing-song grace and restraint. You hear glimpses of the Band, Neil Young, electric Dylan and the aforementioned Parsons, all smoldering and lifting; hazily sunny like an alcohol-fuzzy afternoon spent in Topanga Canyon. You can picture “Sister Satellite” drifting off a windswept hillside and through some pine row, soft and then more defined. “Your Reign” marches slowly and climbs, winking at the Velvets along the way. “Shelter” would’ve fit snugly on Sweetheart of the Rodeo. It’s like that.

At times, Tudrick’s throaty tenor sounds brittle, but is always appropriate, and gently persuaded by Pete Ballard’s melancholic pedal steel lines and Eddie Harsch’s flowing Hammond and piano phrases. There’s warmth, air, groove and beery jangle; a sparseness that ultimately crescendos, just the way Neil Young used to do it. This record is as infectious as porch songs. Get it at cooler local record stores or from Bulldogdetroit.com.

 

Appears Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Double Olive Lounge, 15130 Mack, Grosse Pointe; 313-823-8892;. With the Fags, the Muggs and Shipwreck Union.

Brian Smith is music editor of Metro Times. E-mail him at bsmith@metrotimes.com.

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